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Modernizing Military Logistics: The U.S. Marine Corps - Essay Example

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The United States Marine Corps (USMC) was recognized in April of 2001 for its supply chain excellence. Even so, the events of September 11, 2001 dramatically changed the landscape upon which the USMC operates. The need for improvement in supply chain management (SCM) emerged as the military forces began to engage in a different type of war…
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Modernizing Military Logistics: The U.S. Marine Corps
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Download file to see previous pages Q1: How well suited do you think those changes might have been for dealing with the major global challenges thatfollowed shortly thereafter The changes described in the article would have been very well suited for the coming months and years immediately following 9/11. The USMC faced a different type of warfare; they were not storming beaches or holding hilltops against a known, visible enemy. The terrorist model depends on stealth and surprise attacks against civilian targets, and the regimes that support those efforts have similar, non-conventional methods. Accordingly, having a "suite of applications [which] supports the management and monitoring of units, personnel and equipment readiness, from mobilization through deployment, on a local or global basis" (Defense Update 1) would have been a great advantage. The key phrase here is the blending of local and global. The USMC is facing a non-traditional theater of war, and must develop SCM methods that are as efficient on a global scale as they are in a local hot-spot. Effective SCM gets "the right goods and services to the place they're needed at the right time, in the proper quantity..." (Kay 1). Even though this is articulated in terms of the private sector, it is equally true for the military. To use Kay's framework and apply it to the USMC, the right equipment and munitions along with the proper troop allocations need to arrive in-theater and at the tactical area of operations in sufficient force and quantity to achieve the set objectives. These changes would serve the USMC in Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other location.
Q2: To what extent did those changes successfully anticipate the demands of the subsequent conflicts In terms of anticipation and response, the changes described in the article are very effective. As noted, the "planning process is more efficient and the entire response is more flexible - as they become better equipped for modern asymmetric war against terror" (Defense Update 1). It is always important to have efficiency and flexibility in SCM, regardless of whether it is private sector or military. The key note here, however, is the concept of fighting an asymmetric war against terror. The Defense update notes that the new system is able to be deployed in the field, and is able to connect various resources via satellite and other networks (Defense Update 1). This highlights two aspects of the successful anticipation I see: multi-unit communications for effective SCM and maximizing technological resources. As one source notes, "[t]o have the most benefit, the supply chain must be managed as a single entity" (Ganeshan, et al. 16). There is no way that a coordinated attack (or defense) strategy can be maintained without the proper synchronization between field units, command units, and supply lines. In this instance, the idea that the armed forces would be able to manage theater supply chains as a single entity would greatly enhance operability in the field and avoid any supply-related restrictions. Secondly, the utilization of all technological resources at hand simply makes it possible for the USMC and every other branch of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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